For me, spring is in the air and my mind turns to gardening and I’ve already planted seeds inside in containers, those that take a long time to germinate and flower. But because I’m curious, I have been reading up this week on the benefits of sprouting seeds for the table and I’m astounded at what I’ve learned!
Sprouted seeds happen to be one of the most nutritious and easily digested foods you can possibly eat because they not only contain lots of vitamins, essential fatty acids, proteins, and minerals, but because when you sprout them they have enzymes that make these nutrients so easy to assimilate. If you just eat the seeds they go right through you because they contain an enzyme inhibitor that prevents them from sprouting. Even grinding the seeds doesn’t get rid of the inhibitor and it’s only when it is removed by water and the seeds are able to sprout that the enzymes can release their nutrients and transform them into useable form.
First of all, for those who may not be familiar with seed sprouts, check out the video to see how to make them easily. At the sprouting stage a seed’s nutritious value is at its highest since it contains all the important ingredients needed for a mature plant. It has been shown for instance that a sprouted seed can contain as much as 400% more protein than a full grown plant and even higher percentages of vitamins and antioxidants. That means when you eat a good helping of sprouts, what you are ingesting is the nutritious value you could only get by eating hundreds of plants!!
If you look into the significant health benefits of sprouts you discover that they are also packed with nature’s chemicals that protect the plant against disease and these are also of benefit to animals like us. Examples are antioxidants that counteract damaging free radicals, saponins that boost the immune system, and sulforaphane that can remove carcinogens and kill cells that are potentially cancerous. The discovery of sulforaphane especially in broccoli has made it a popular vegetable for protection against cancer but research shows that by eating broccoli sprouts you get up to 100 times the amount of the compound of a mature broccoli plant.
Among many other benefits of sprouts you can add that: they are full of fiber; a healthy system works best when it is alkaline and the fact that sprouts are an alkaline food makes them an ideal addition to the diet; they help prevent hormonal imbalances that cause hot flashes in menopausal women; and they make for a low cost substitute for fresh produce that’s not very abundant or fresh in the winter months
There are many kinds of seeds that can be sprouted and a list is given in the link. A word of caution - be sure the seeds are organic and meant for sprouting – seeds packaged for planting may contain chemical fertilizers.
Happy sprouting! Rie